Friday, September 21, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
from the Washington Free Beacon:
A secretive network of left-wing billionaires and their political operatives descended on the luxurious Biltmore Hotel in Miami over the weekend to discuss strategy for the coming elections.
The location of the conference had been kept a closely guarded secret by the members and guests of Democracy Alliance (DA), a collection of ultra-wealthy liberal donors formed in 2005, and is reported here in a Washington Free Beacon exclusive.
Attendees roamed the grounds at the 150-acre tropical resort on their way to cocktail gatherings, salsa dance lessons, and workshops such as “Occupy the Voting Booth” and “The 1 Percent Rule.” Local police guarded entrances as members attended a “partners only” meeting in the hotel’s Country Club Courtyard.
“Name badges must be worn at all times,” attendees were informed.
A Free Beacon reporter who tried to attend the conference after-party was intercepted by Alexandra Visher, the DA’s vice president of partner engagement and communications.
“These are individuals of considerable means” who often support policies that run contrary to their own interests, Visher said, as she escorted the reporter out of the party.
Earlier, the Free Beacon reporter was approached by a plain-clothes police officer who said taking pictures of the conference-goers was prohibited. The reporter was not taking pictures at the time.
Asked for an explanation, the officer said, “I can’t talk about it.”
The conference was attended by the biggest names in liberal politics, including billionaire financier George Soros, who has already pledged at least $2 million to pro-Democratic groups this cycle.
The actual amount Soros has contributed may be much higher, according to experts.
Contrary to Visher’s claim, in the past Soros has boasted that he “made many millions” off of similar political philanthropy, “which had at first looked like a fruitless venture.”
Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and frequent White House visitor, lounged by the Biltmore’s “lagoon sized pool.”
DA board member and Soros spokesman Michael Vachon swam laps.
Ari Rabin-Havt, executive vice president of Media Matters for America (MMFA), was overheard speaking to colleagues about his plans for a new MMFA fellowship, and bragging about a phone call he had received from Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama re-election team.
Soros publicly contributed $1 million to MMFA in 2010, after years of speculation that he was the group’s primary secret donor.
The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank with deep ties to the Obama administration, was also heavily represented. CAP president Neera Tanden joined former Rep. Tom Perriello (D., Va.), president and CEO of the CAP Action Fund, and Van Jones, a senior fellow and former White House green jobs adviser, among others.
Jones did not respond to the Free Beacon’s requests for comment.
The Center for American Progress has been at the forefront of a coordinated campaign to discredit and demonize conservative donors and to demand transparency in political giving.
However, CAP does not disclose its donors, nor does it mention its participation in the Democracy Alliance on its website. Soros pledged an initial $3 million to the organization in 2003.
Perriello was overheard in between sessions talking to other attendees about President Barack Obama’s electoral prospects in Virginia.
“There’s going to be an insane amount of money on the other side, and we’ve seen what that can do in a Congressional [election]” he said, noting that a “gender gap” had opened up in Northern Virginia that may be “very helpful.”
Perriello, who represented Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District from 2009-2011, lost decisively to Republican Robert Hurt in the 2010 election.
When it comes to “insane amounts of money,” however, the Biltmore is hard to beat. Shiny black Maseratis, McLarens, and Jaguars fill the parking lots; exotic finches flutter about the lobby; and the hotel’s luxury spa offers “Antioxidant Foam Wraps” and “Moroccan Oil Scalp Massages” for a rate equivalent to $3 per minute (gratuity not included).
Inside the rooms, which cost as much as $3,000 per night, guests are invited to enjoy $8 bottles of Evian. The accompanying literature features advertisements for private Swiss banks such as E. Gutzwiller & Cie.
Controversial former Rep. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), who nicknamed his most recent opponent and current congressman Daniel Webster (R., Fla.) “Taliban Dan,” cracked jokes in the elevators.
DA board members such as Steve Phillips, Donald Sussman, and Kelly Craighead, each with connections to major left-leaning political organizations, were less recognizable, but perhaps of equal or greater import.
Phillips, who serves as secretary for the DA, oversees a number of political action committees such as PAC+, which focuses on Latino voters, and PowerPAC.org, a “statewide social justice organization working with community organizations and activists to build political power in California.”
Sussman, a hedge-fund manager who invests in Chinese companies, is married to Rep. Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) and currently serves on the board of CAP.
Another prominent hedge fund manager, Thomas E. Steyer of Farallon Capital Management, also sits on CAP’s board.
Craighead is the DA’s president and managing director. She formerly worked as a “strategic consultant” to liberal groups like MMFA.
Other notable attendees include Cynthia Ryan, a principal at the investment firm Schooner Capital, who has bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s reelection campaign.
The SEIU’s Larry McNeil, identified as a long-time “Saul Alinski organizer” [sic] in one online biography, was there with his wife Anne Bartley, currently a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and a top contributor to the EMILY’s List Women Vote! PAC.
Sandor Straus, a prominent investment manager who has given at least $115,000 to Democratic candidates and liberal organizations this cycle, and Al Yates, the former Colorado State University president who played a pivotal role in the DA’s formation, were also in attendance.
DA founder emeritus Rob Stein has described the group as a “political investment bank” whose mission is to “balance the market place of ideas and political activism with center-left ideas, messages, and organizing strategy.” Members are required to pay annual dues starting at $30,000 and contribute at least $170,000 per year to recommended groups.
The timing of the conference was significant as the organization is said to be experiencing dissent within its ranks.
“There is heavy debate over whether to fund organizations closely aligned with the Democratic Party or those that operating outside it and pressuring it to move in a more progressive direction,” the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim recently reported.
The resignation of billionaire insurance magnate Peter Lewis, the chairman of Progressive Insurance and one of the group’s founding members, was one sign of trouble for the organization.
The DA also caused a stir when it decided to stop funding a number of groups that operated outside the explicitly partisan realm of the Democratic Party, such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Third Way, a center-left think thank.
However, at least one Third Way board member, Tim Sweeney of the Denver-based Gill Foundation, was spotted at the conference in Miami.
Groups such as Media Matters and the Center for American Progress, both of which maintain extensive ties to the Obama administration, have retained their favored status within the DA.
Other liberal grassroots organizations that have not been ostracized by the DA include America Votes, the Campaign for Community Change, and Act Blue, a PAC that bills itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic Action.”
It is not clear whether any senior administration officials or campaign representatives spoke at the conference.
However, both Vice President Joe Biden and Bill Burton, chairman of the Obama-aligned Priorities USA Super PAC, have addressed secret Democracy Alliance summits in the past.
DA chairman and Big Taco baron Rob McKay, who also sits on the board of Priorities USA, hosted a $35,800-a-head fundraiser for Obama earlier this year.
Visher, the DA spokesperson, told the Free Beacon that the group’s members should be allowed to meet and advance their agenda in private.
She cited the New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore as a reporter whose work was appropriately respectful of the network’s privacy.
Confessore reported last week that the DA was planning to “convene near Miami,” but did not provide additional details such as the exact location of the event or notable invitees.
When contacted by the Free Beacon regarding his reasoning for not reporting such information, Confessore referred us to Eileen Murphy, the Times’ vice president of corporate communications.
“You are getting into a level of detail regarding our reporting and editing process here that we do not typically discuss publicly,” Murphy said in an email. “Sorry I won’t be able to be of much assistance.”
Friday, April 27, 2012
(CBS News) Newt Gingrich is set to formally suspend his campaign next week and officially endorse his main rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney. It could be an awkward moment. Gingrich has not been shy about expressing a low opinion of Romney during the fight for the GOP nomination. Here's a countdown of 10 of the worst things Gingrich had to say about the former Massachusetts governor: 10. He's out of touch and thinks we're stupid "We're not going to beat Barack Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island accounts, owns shares of Goldman Sachs while it forecloses on Florida and is himself a stockholder in Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac while he tries to think the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together to understand what this is all about." Mt. Dora, Fla. Jan. 26, 2012 9. He's a timid leader who can't bring about change Romney's a "Massachusetts moderate who, in fact, is pretty good at managing the decay." He's "given no evidence in his years in Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture or change the political structure." Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 4, 2012 8. Romney's adviser was right to compare Romney to an etch-a-sketch "Now given everybody's fears about Gov. Romney's flip flops, to have his communications director say publicly to all of us, if we're dumb enough to nominate him we should expect by the acceptance speech he'll move back to the left, triggers everything people are worried about." "Their pictures aren't permanent. There's nothing locked down. You can re-do every time you want. And that's the problem." Lake Charles, La., March 21, 2012 7. He's full of "pious baloney" "Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? The fact is, you ran in '94 and lost. That's why you weren't serving in the Senate with Rick Santorum. The fact is, you had a very bad re-election rating, you dropped out of office, you had been out of state for something like 200 days preparing to run for president. You didn't have this interlude of citizenship while you thought about what you do. You were running for president while you were governor." NBC News/ Facebook debate, Jan. 8, 2012 6. He looted companies as head of Bain Capital "Now you have to ask a question - is that really, is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money? Or is that in fact somehow a little bit of a flawed system? And so I do draw distinction between looting a company, leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods and then leaving a factory that should be there." Manchester, NH, Jan. 9, 2012 5. He profits off the poor "Maybe Governor Romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he's made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments." CNN debate, Jan. 26, 2012 4. His immigration reform plan is an "Obama level fantasy" "Now, for Romney to believe that somebody's grandmother is going to be so cut off she is going to self deport? This verges - this is an Obama level fantasy. He certainly shows no concern for the humanity of people who are already here..." "I think you have to live in worlds of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million a year income with no work to have some fantasy this far from reality." Univision interview, Jan. 25, 2012 3. He can't win "I find it amazing the news media continues to say he's the most electable Republican when he can't even break out of his own party...The fact is, Gov. Romney in the end has a very limited appeal in conservative party." Concord, N.H., Jan. 4, 2012 2. He's not a conservative "It's just like this pretense that he's a conservative. Here's a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in 'Romneycare,' puts Planned Parenthood in 'Romneycare,' raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he's magically a conservative." CBS' "The Early Show," January 3, 2012 1. He's a liar CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell: "You're calling Mitt Romney a liar?" Gingrich: "Well, you seem shocked by it! This is a man whose staff created the PAC, his millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC - it's baloney. He's not telling the American people the truth..." "I just think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney, not try to invent a poll-driven, consultant-guided version that goes around with talking points, and I think he ought to be candid. I don't think he's being candid and that will be a major issue. From here on out from the rest of this campaign, the country has to decide: Do you really want a Massachusetts moderate who won't level with you to run against Barack Obama who, frankly, will just tear him apart? He will not survive against the Obama machine."
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's faltering campaign is expected to get another shot in the arm, CBS News has learned.
Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson plans to give another $10 million to the outside group backing the former Georgia lawmaker who is running behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a source close to Adelson told CBS News.
Adleson and his family have already given $11 million to "Winning our Future," the super PAC backing Gingrich. The group, which bombarded the airwaves in South Carolina last month ahead of the primary there, is largely credited with helping Gingrich win in the Palmetto state.
The latest $10 million cash injection would raise the Adelson family's contribution to $21 million, and a different source close to Adelson said he is prepared to drop another $4 million for a total of $25 million. The Huffington Post calculated that the billionaire casino owner earns about $3.3 million an hour.
The donation is expected to arrive at "Winning Our Future" within days, the source said, but still too late to make deadline for the scheduled release of donations on February 20th. The donation details are expected to be revealed in the March 20th filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Adelson has previously indicated his support for Gingrich is based on their shared commitment to Israel. But the billionaire has also indicated that despite his ongoing support for Gingrich, he will maintain a commitment to whoever becomes the Republican nominee.
A "Winning Our Future" spokesman declined comment.
A source close to the super PAC told CBS News a new infusion of $10 million would "change everything" and they could hit the button to go on television with ads supporting Gingrich "in 30 seconds."
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
from the LA Times
Reporting from Washington— Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are sending another $5 million to support the presidential ambitions of Newt Gingrich, providing funds to the House speaker's close allies as the remaining GOP presidential candidates turn to Florida.Hmmmm. I wonder what it might mean to a Gingrich presidency to be so indebted to one man for his high office?
This month, the Adelsons sent their first $5 million wire transfer to Winning Our Future, a "super PAC" backing Gingrich's campaign. The organization is one of a new genre of campaign committees that can legally accept donations of unlimited amounts -- like the $10 million now donated from the Adelsons.
A Supreme Court decision spawned new rules allowing "independent" political committees to solicit funds from individuals, unions and corporations for campaign purposes, provided the donors' identities are disclosed. The additional $5 million contribution from the Adelsons was first reported Monday by Jon Ralston, a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun.
A source close to the Adelsons told the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington bureau Monday evening that the latest $5 million transfer was signed by Miriam Adelson, while the last one was signed by Sheldon. The funds come from a joint account.
Their donation would appear to be the largest from an individual to a super PAC.
Sheldon Adelson made his fortune in the gambling business. He married Miriam, an Israeli physician, in 1991.
Their personal donations are sent without condition to the Winning Our Future super PAC because the Adelsons have a special loyalty to Gingrich since they first met him in Washington in 1995, at the time Congress approved the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The law would require the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Since it was passed, consecutive U.S. presidents have waived implementation of the law on national security and other grounds. Israel has long claimed Jerusalem as the historic capital of the Jewish state. Palestinians also claim the city as their spiritual capital.
The attention to the Adelson contributions is puzzling to Sheldon Adelson. He remarked to one associate Monday that each check he writes receives intense media scrutiny while labor unions contribute tens of millions without much public attention.
Adelson noted that his donations came from his personal bank account, while unions are spending much larger amounts of worker-given money to support candidates.
Adelson and Gingrich have found common ground discussing labor issues in the past. Though Israel is the topic on which they met and have the strongest bond, Gingrich and Adelson conferred at a time when Adelson was having trouble with unionized employees at his Las Vegas casino, the Sands.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
AIPAC Republicans Begin Burning Bridges w/Democrats by Calling Jewish Obama Supporters "Anti-Semites"
from MJ Rosenberg, Huffington Post
It has been over a week since the lobby that deems itself "pro-Israel" began its recent effort to suppress the views of those of us it considers Israel haters, self-hating Jews or -- in a most ridiculous twist given that most of us are Jews -- "anti-Semites."
The effort to silence us now stems from (1) the determination to defeat President Obama, and (2) the need to intimidate us as the lobby and its congressional acolytes cowboy up for a bombing campaign against Iran.
I am one of the least significant figures to come under attack.
The bill of particulars against me is that I use the term "Israel firster" to describe those who consistently -- and without exception -- thwart the efforts of U.S. Presidents to achieve Middle East peace. (Worse, according to Fox News, I "defiantly" refuse to back down).
I view their goals as those of the Israeli right: to maintain the occupation and prevent diplomacy with Iran.
These people (take a look at Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post) think nothing of attacking the President of the United States in the most vicious of terms but condemn anyone with the temerity to criticize anything done by the prime minister of Israel.
As I have explained, it is not Israel they put first but the Israeli right. (They had no objection to criticism of Yitzhak Rabin, whose pursuit of peace with the Palestinians led to him being portrayed, including by Israel's current prime minister, as an enemy of Israel.)
After a week attacking me, they have turned their guns to bigger prey. The new target is New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman who is under attack for writing a column denouncing Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman for praising the recent Russian election as "absolutely fair, free and democratic" and lamenting a host of anti-democratic actions in Israel (all of which have been roundly condemned inside the country).
The Friedman quote that absolutely drove the pro-Likud right crazy was directed at Benyamin Netanyahu:
I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.
For this, Commentary called Friedman a practitioner of the "new anti-Semitism" with virtually all the usual suspects following suit.
Tom Friedman is an anti-Semite! Imagine.
It feels ridiculous even rebutting this outlandish charge. Tom Friedman has, for virtually his entire career, been condemned by real anti-Israel types as an apologist for Israel. He's Jewish (although the crazies now call Jews anti-Semites!), he became a journalist through his involvement with Israel, he and his family are huge donors to pro-Israel causes, and he hardly publishes a column without reference to one of his Israeli pals at Hebrew or Haifa University.
If Tom Friedman is an anti-Semite, there is no such thing; the charge has simply lost its meaning. I don't think Tom would object if I said that not only does he not hate Israel, he loves Israel and makes no effort to hide it.
As for his quote about the lobby and Netanyahu's ovation at that joint session. Everyone knows that the only reason there even was a (rare) joint meeting of Congress honoring Netanyahu (for what?) was because John Boehner and Eric Cantor wanted to make it harder for the president to promote an Israeli-Palestinian agreement by demonstrating that Congress supported Bibi and not Obama.
And it was because they wanted to put on a show for the lobby. No one in the Republican congressional leadership even implied otherwise.
The pro-Bibi ovation was about as sincere and free of political considerations (i.e, campaign donations) as Newt Gingrich's sudden announcement that Palestinians are an "invented people."
But the silly attack on Tom Friedman wasn't enough.
On Thursday, the rightwing Republican Emergency Committee for Israel ran ads across the country (including a full page in the New York Times) denouncing the Obama administration (specifically the President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta) for treating Israel like a "punching bag."
The administration's sin, as always, is that it has (intermittently, in my opinion) tried to get Israel back to negotiations and has (very intermittently) cited Israel for human rights violations. The attack on all three is particularly dumb but the one on Hillary Clinton takes the cake (has there ever been an American political figure more outspokenly pro-Israel?).
As for treating Israel like a punching bag, what a joke! The pro-Israel peace camp (of which I am a member in good standing) has consistently denounced the Obama administration for never criticizing Israeli policies.
Even the administration's demand for a measly 90-day settlement freeze was dropped when Netanyahu balked. I guess that is why even the ultra-right Elliot Abrams (a board member of the Emergency Committee for Israel) says that under Obama the strategic relationship between Israel and the United States has reached an all-time high, and why Netanyahu himself said in September that Obama has earned a "badge of honor" for his support for Israel.
So why all the hate from the right?
The reason is simple.
It is not that the targets of its wrath are anti-Israel; that is demonstrably false.
It is that some of us (Friedman, for instance) oppose the status quo that the warhawks treasure above all else. The hawks support the unsustainable occupation and the heightened tensions (and hence the likelihood of war) with Iran. To put it simply, the right is coming at us because we object to those policies that could lead to Israel's destruction.
I often recall a similar situation back in 1971. Israel at that time was riding high and feeling pretty invulnerable. Still in a technical state of war with Egypt, it was separated from its enemy by the Israeli-controlled Sinai Peninsula, which was four times the size of Israel itself.
President Anwar Sadat, already contemplating a peace deal with Israel, sent word to the Israeli government that if Israel would pull back two miles from the Suez Canal (allowing Egypt to reopen it), he would commence negotiations with Israel.
The United States immediately sent an envoy to Jerusalem to ask the Israelis to at least consider Sadat's offer. What's two miles? Israel would still have the rest and, maybe, peace with the most powerful Arab nation.
Israel said absolutely not. It was strong; Egypt was weak. The United States told the Israelis that if it refused to consider Sadat's offer, he might go to war to recover the land. The Israelis scoffed.
Two years later, on October 6, 1973, Sadat led an Egyptian attack to regain the Sinai and came very close to conquering Israel itself. After three weeks, Israel prevailed -- with the invaluable aid of the U.S. -- at the cost of 3,000 soldiers. Ultimately it also had to give up not just two miles of the Sinai but the whole peninsula altogether.
All this could have been avoided if Israel had simply told the United States that yes, it would consider Sadat's offer.
Needless to say, AIPAC and the other organizations that believe one must never, ever question an Israeli leader -- along with their devotees in Congress -- supported Israel's incredibly stupid and ultimately tragic decision to reject Sadat's overture. When the U.S. administration asked for the lobby's support in getting Israel to consider Sadat's offer, the lobby said no. It stood with the Israeli government, right or, in that case, tragically wrong.
And thousands of Israeli kids grew up with missing fathers.
Of course, the lobby and its cutouts in Congress never apologized for backing the worst decision Israel has ever made (so far).
It occurs to me that one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the necessity of Israel pursuing peace is that I remember (although not as clearly as an Israeli) what October 6, 1973 felt like.
It was Yom Kippur. We were in synagogue. In came the amazing and utterly shocking news that Israel was under attack and that all its positions along the Suez Canal had fallen. Casualties were high. With the exception of November 22, 1963 and 9/11, I cannot remember a worse day.
The problem with the right-wingers is that, when it comes to the Middle East, they remember nothing. Lucky them.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
This is not a joke, but it’s kind of funny: Stephen Colbert would edge out Jon Huntsman in the South Carolina Republican primary.
That’s according to a Public Policy Polling survey out Tuesday that found the late-night comic picking up 5 percent of the vote, compared with Huntsman’s 4 percent.
On the serious side, Mitt Romney had 27 percent, Newt Gingrich 23 percent, Rick Santorum 18 percent, while Ron Paul came in with 8 percent and Rick Perry 7 percent, according to the poll.
And as for Colbert’s proposed ballot referendum that would ask voters whether they think corporations are people — which harks back to a comment Romney made in August — 33 percent said they believe “corporations are people,” while 67 percent said “only people are people.”
Soon after the poll’s release, Huntsman laughed off PPP’s findings in an interview on Fox News Tuesday afternoon.
“Well, when I was on his show recently, he promised me the ‘Colbert bump’ — I think we’re getting that here in New Hampshire,” he said. “Now we’re going to be looking for the Colbert bump in South Carolina.”
The Public Policy Polling poll was conducted Jan. 5-7 among 1,112 likely Republican voters in the Jan. 21 primary.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Sheldon Adelson likes a fight. The billionaire Republican donor transformed Las Vegas with the construction of a vast conference centre at his Venetian casino to the great chagrin of his rivals, such as Steve Wynn. He also defied convention when he helped develop Macao as a gaming destination, building casinos that have eclipsed anything ever constructed in Sin City.
Now he hopes to transform the Republican primary race with a $5m donation to a super-political action committee that is backing Newt Gingrich. The “Winning Our Future” super-Pac has acquired a controversial film that portrays Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate, as a predatory capitalist and destroyer of jobs.
The film forms the basis for a new series of commercials to run in South Carolina ahead of its primary on January 21 and is more evidence that the latest stage of an already bitter campaign has entered an increasingly acrimonious phase. With a large personal fortune and campaign war chest, Mr Romney has more money to spend than his rivals: super-Pacs backing Mr Romney were instrumental in eroding support for Mr Gingrich in Iowa.
But with Mr Adelson in his corner, Mr Gingrich, the former speaker of the house, has a deep-pocketed supporter intent on helping him reverse the poll declines that saw him lose his front-runner status.
The son of a Lithuanian immigrant – and Boston cab driver – Mr Adelson’s first job was selling newspapers on street corners: he and his friends often suffered at the hands of Irish youths. But he had a sharp entrepreneurial streak and started a vending machine business before training to become a court reporter.
He would make his fortune in travel and tourism and realised early on that there was money to be made in leisure when he started a charter tours business. He became a millionaire when he created the Comdex computer trade show. But it was his epiphany that Las Vegas could become the natural home for business conventions that set him on the path to becoming one of the world’s richest men.
As chairman of Las Vegas Sands, he runs one of the world’s biggest gaming companies: it invested in Macao when other US gaming groups faltered and was handsomely rewarded when the enclave became the world’s biggest casino market thanks to the fervour – and willingness to spend – of Chinese gamblers.
He weathered a severe storm in 2008 when the financial crisis and consumer downturn caused the near collapse of several large casino groups. He put $475m of his family’s money into Sands but the move paid off: Sands shares have since rebounded.
A vocal supporter of Israel and a generous philanthropist, he has poured millions into Jewish causes and also owns a stake in the Israel Hayom newspaper.
A close ally of Benjamin Netanyahu, he has opposed a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and has expressed deep concerns about moves by Iran to develop its uranium enrichment programme. He also recently backed Mr Gingrich’s controversial comments about Palestinians being “an invented people”.
“Read the history of those who call themselves ‘Palestinians’,” he told an audience in Israel recently, “and you will hear why [Newt] Gingrich called them an ‘invented people’. There are a number of Palestinians who will recognise the truth of this statement.”
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Rep. Michele Bachmann announced today that she is suspending her presidential campaign after placing last in Tuesday’s Iowa caucus.